Country Summary



Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader. Iran holds a strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport.



total: 1,648,195 sq km
land: 1,531,595 sq km
water: 116,600 sq km


mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

People and Society


87,590,873 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen, and Turkic tribes


Persian Farsi (official), Azeri and other Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic


Muslim (official) 98.5%, Christian 0.7%, Baha'i 0.3%, agnostic 0.3%, other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Hindu) 0.2% (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.93% (2023 est.)


Government type

theocratic republic


name: Tehran

Executive branch

chief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
head of government: President Ebrahim RAISI (since 18 June 2021); First Vice President Mohammad MOKHBER (since 8 August 2021)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e Shura-ye Eslami or Majles (290 seats; 285 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by multiple non-transferable vote in 2 rounds, 1 seat each for Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Armenians in the north of the country and Armenians in the south; members serve 4-year terms); note - all candidates to the Majles must be approved by the Council of Guardians, a 12-member group of which 6 are appointed by the supreme leader and 6 are jurists nominated by the judiciary and elected by the Majles


Economic overview

traditionally state-controlled economy but reforming state-owned financial entities; strong oil/gas, agricultural, and service sectors; recent massive inflation due to exchange rate depreciation, international sanctions, and investor uncertainty; increasing poverty

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.369 trillion (2022 est.)
$1.319 trillion (2021 est.)
$1.26 trillion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$15,500 (2022 est.)
$15,000 (2021 est.)
$14,400 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, sugar cane, milk, sugar beet, tomatoes, barley, potatoes, oranges, poultry, apples


petroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizer, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments


$101.4 billion (2017 est.)
$83.98 billion (2016 est.)

Exports - partners

China 48%, India 12%, South Korea 8%, Turkey 6%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

ethylene polymers, pistachios, iron, copper, industrial alcohols, aluminum (2021)


$76.39 billion (2017 est.)
$63.14 billion (2016 est.)

Imports - partners

China 28%, United Arab Emirates 20%, India 11%, Turkey 7%, Brazil 6%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, corn, broadcasting equipment, soybean products, beef (2019)

Exchange rates

Iranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
42,000 (2021 est.)
42,000 (2020 est.)
42,000 (2019 est.)
40,864.329 (2018 est.)
33,226.298 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Monday, April 15, 2024